As most of us know, Sam Bradford regressed from his 2010 Offensive Rookie of the Year form to a full-fledged sophomore slump last season.
Bradford, though, had some tough circumstances working against him last season:
- The offensive line was inconsistent and performed poorly, overall, in regard to pass protection.
- Several receivers dropped passes far too often throughout the season, beginning in Week 1 versus Philadelphia.
- Bradford had to learn a second offense under a second offensive coordinator within the constraints of a drastically shortened offseason.
- Finally, Bradford lost the steadying, reassuring guidance of quarterback coach Dick Curl, who retired.
On the other hand, Bradford has some responsibility in his depreciation of 2011.
Bradford struggled with his progressions last year and locked onto his receivers far too often. To be fair, receivers were rarely getting separation, and that could have played a role in that, theoretically.
Then again, there were many occasions when players ran open to never be seen by Bradford, who was often staring down his primary read.
When watching him closely, he rarely scanned the field. At times, one might have thought that Peyton Manning was not the only NFL QB with a serious neck injury, as Bradford appeared to rarely turn his head.
In addition to improving on his progressions, Bradford needs to up his pocket awareness as he often showed a subpar feel for what was taking place around him last season.
With Danny Amendola almost assuredly returning, a hopefully healthy Steve Smith in the fold and some sure-to-come weapons via the NFL draft, Bradford should be set to improve in 2012.
As touched on in previous slides, better pass protection should undoubtedly help, too. Getting a quarterback coach back on the sidelines may aid Bradford as well. Having a full offseason surely will not hurt, either.
Of all those listed in this slideshow, Bradford's bounce back to better play in the coming campaign would help make for a stronger showing by St. Louis in the won-loss column than any other Rams offensive player.
For the sake of Rams Nation, one has to hope that occurs, especially after trading the No. 2 overall pick to the Washington Redskins presumably for Robert Griffin III.
Shane Gray covers the St. Louis Rams year-round. You are encouraged to check out the rest of his work here and to follow him on Twitter.